Friday, June 18, 2010

Are Old School Gaming Blogs Dying Out?

Some recent forum and blog posts have asked if the interest in blogging about old school gaming is dying out. They cite the explosion of blog activity 1-2 years ago, and the current problem of crickets chirping on their "Blogs I'm Following" lists. Explanations advanced for this problem include that interest in old school roleplaying is dying out or maybe that the old standby bloggers are focusing on gaming instead of blogging.

Well, I just want to say that I have no idea what these people are talking about. I make an effort to keep up with newer blogs and my "Blogs I'm Following" list is packed with great new posts every day. I think the main problem is that some folks aren't keeping up with things, while the scene is moving ahead and natural turnover is occurring.

Yes, many of the older and/or established blogs I've always looked forward to reading have significantly slowed or gone quiet (eg. Sham's Grog n' Blog, sword +1, Eiglophian Press, Sickly Purple Death Ray, Vaults of Nagoh, Mandragora/Thool, Rust Monster Ate My Sword, How to Start a Revolution in 21 Days or Less, etc.) I think this is natural - most people's interests will evolve, or real life kicks in and takes priority.

However, even though many great blogs have gone quiet, another crop of bloggers has been churning out excellent material, including From the Sorcerer's Skull, A Paladin in Citadel, Telecanter's Receding Rules, The Mule Abides, Tales From the Flaming Faggot, Land of NOD, Grand Tapestry, Planet Algol, Joethelwayer, Swords Against the Outer Dark, etc., etc. The list goes on and on - just look at the blogroll to the right. If anything, there's TOO MUCH going on right now and it's hard to keep up. That's not even mentioning the spectacular sustained output of the highest visibility blogs like Jeff's Gameblog and Grognardia.

And the most beautiful thing about the old school gaming blogosphere right now? It's refreshingly free of the posturing and drama that have plagued it in the past. A lot of the energy is being focused on creative endeavors, not rehash and cross-blog-referencing.

My analysis of the situation? Things are better than ever. Natural turnover, new faces, new ideas, more sophisticated posts, larger numbers of followers across all blogs... I'm dealing with overload right now, not crickets chirping.

Check out this old school gaming blog list compiled by the the excellent Ancient Vaults and Eldritch Secrets blog. You could spend days reading through all of these!


  1. I still see a very active blogosphere and there is new blood being added all the time.

    Ancient Vaults isn't slowing down any time soon and will very shortly be headed in a new (non-blog) direction.

  2. There is a lot out there to read, and it's tough to hit them all. I like to take a quick glance at game reports and game reviews and all that, but I would also like to see more bloggers come from the heart. Talk about the bad experiences as well as the good. I know that when I do a rant about something that is chapping my ass, I get a lot more comments than when I just post about a game I used to like.

    Things seemed to pick up for my blog a lot more when I stopped just writing about my game sessions, and wrote more about what made me happy and what made me mad. And I would like to read more of that out there. Unfortunatly, I think a lot of people are trying to post the type of things that James at Grognardia does, but stuff is not always fascinating. Like a gaming Stephen King, all James has to do is type the world "boo" and 40 people will comment. I think most of the rest of us who don't have the hype need to be a bit more clever with our writing.

  3. I'm here, but in lurking mode. Summer has me chasing tail and my regular game has lapsed. Generally I'm a more active poster during the fall/winter months. The Eiglophian Phoenix shall rise again.

  4. @G. Benedicto: This is the best news of the day! I was very worried that Eiglophian Press had died!

  5. I think you're seeing more of us doing the Old School thing and less discussion about what it all might mean. Using the whole DIY/back to the roots approach to things as a creative springboard allows us to do things that were inconceivable back in the so-called day. Or to paraphrase Elvis: "A little Less commentary and little more action, please..."

  6. @Netherworks: I think you're probably right. I am personally relieved to see the pseudo-philosophizing and echo-chamber commentary fall to the wayside in favor of the more creative and applied blog material.

  7. I'm playing regularly; folks elsewhere are starting to run UWoM more and reporting about doing so; I am gearing things toward the commercial release and expanding coverage of the setting with a dedicated website; and I know plenty of behind the scenes stuff I cannot divulge.

    I also think that a lot of us took to heart things we had read on the blogs and are putting it to practise in our regular games. When this either runs dry, or the conclusions are interesting, I think we'll see more blogging about the experiences.

    & then that summer-thing... ;)

  8. I agree with you that there is often an embarassment of riches, rather than too little. I think maybe the primary concerns of this corner of the blogosphere has changed, perhaps.

    I think earlier, there was more of a concern with planting the intellectual flag and establishing the domain, so to speak. Now that a kingdom has been carved out, there is more exploration of where all its borders lie--and perhaps wandering off its edges a bit.

    Of course, its also possible that peoples blogging fire tends to naturally ebb and flow over time.

  9. What? Today I go and post an over the top psuedo-philosophical entry (when I seldom do) and here I find out that scene's done for! Drat. :)

    I tend to think warmer weather has the most to do with any perceived drop off in new blog posting. The same thing has happened over at the Mythmere forums and likely others. I know I've been scaling back a bit and trying to get outdoors and garden etc.

  10. I am glad to count myself as part of the old-school gang. But then again, being an obsessive gamer for 30 years come this September, what other gang would I join anyway?

    Swords Against the Outer Dark has grown leaps and bounds, and it seems to gain followers all the time. I never expected my blog to grow into what it has, but now that I am here my ambitions have grown bigger than the blog. I want to keep going, and see what I can pull off. If only I had a budget, more time and a staff...

    Looking around at other OSR dedicated blogs I count myself lucky to stand among them. I have made some great friends and had a good time doing it.

    Too bad we can't all meetup at a pub, because I would love to buy everyone a Guinness!

  11. Guinness!
    Yes, it would be nice to have a big meetup. However, one of the strengths of our group is having dedicated members all over the world. Australia, South America, throughout Asia, Europe and the States. That thin, ethereal cord that binds us together also streches all around the globe.

  12. Typically, I have a lull in my bogging when I have a topic I want to talk about, but can't find a way to communicate it effectively.

    Once I get that post out of the way, i'm back to my regular 1 post schedule every 1-2 days.

    Lots of great blogs out there, my challenge is trying to keep up with reading all of them. There are many times that i'm just to exhausted from work and family commitments to comment on all the great stuff being churned out. I feel bad, because those great ideas deserve recognition, and the bloggers, positive feedback.

  13. I'm nowhere near tapped out for ideas yet, I just haven't had the time to do much posting these last couple months. The thing I think is a shame, and a loss for us all is when a blogger calls it quits, and deletes his entire body of writing rather than just leaving it up. Even if you're moving on, I'd like to be able to reference the blog later.

  14. I jumped into blogging ~2 years ago and rode that wave.

    I think you nail it on the head. People haven't kept up. I regularly add blogs to my blogroll (mostly from other blog's blogrolls) It's a titatanically long list. Admittedly maybe 10-20% isn't "old school". Still there's a crap load. More than I can keep up with unless I spend 2-6 hours night reading blogs.

    My blog roll is it's ordered by most recent post so you can see which blogs are active these days and which aren't.

    blog roll

  15. Dude, I have three blogs and I can barely keep them all going at the same time! :O


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